Saturday, June 14, 2008


2000, US, directed by Davis Guggenheim

Gossip is set in a hyper-art-directed cinematic world that bears no resemblance to any college experience I'm aware of: the film half-heartedly tries to justify the absurdly palatial loft digs occupied by the three protagonists, who come on like The Thin Man's Nick and Nora Charles, drinking cocktails from dawn to dusk, and smoking like it's going out of fashion (which it is). While the movie attempts to tackle big-ticket subjects like date rape in the end it's far too muddled, and far too enamored of its own sub-Hitchcockian red herrings, to make much of a contribution to the debate.

Director Davis Guggenheim is a television veteran - who went on to direct, of all things, the environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth - and here, perhaps trying to impress us with his cinematic chops, he makes liberal use of oddball angles that do little except distract from the confused storyline. He's unable to keep the film grounded in any kind of reality, with even the impoverished member of the central triumvirate apparently able to access high-end artistic materials, while the final outcome is flagged with thudding obviousness. There's the germ of an intelligent idea in here, and with a more credible college setting - with some cheap cans of beer instead of cognac, perhaps - there might even have been room for some intelligent commentary. As it is, the movie simply devolves into real estate porn for the trust fund set, and even the usually wonderful English actress Lena Headey can't save things.

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States